Novel Writing (Online Distance Learning) MA | Middlesex University London
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Novel Writing MA (Online Distance Learning)

Learn about the course below
Code
PGW803
Start
October 2017
Duration
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
Attendance
Online distance learning
Fees
£4,200 (UK/EU)
£4,200 (INT)
Course leader
Adam Lively

Writing a novel is on most bucket lists, but very few people make their dream a reality. Our fully flexible online MA enables you to develop your novel at your own pace, at times to suit your lifestyle, from anywhere in the world. You’ll be supported throughout by acclaimed novelists, who are experienced creative writing lecturers with valuable industry links.

Why study the MA Novel Writing at Middlesex University?

Our practical and contemporary approach to novel writing ensures you are able to hone your writing skills and develop your book while also identifying gaps in the market and how to approach agents and publishers.

Through our online campus you can access the support of our experts, while interacting with others on the course, at a time to suit you, and you can choose to complete the course in one year (full-time) or over two or three years (part-time) starting in October. From idea generation, to developing character and plot, to pitching your novel to publishers, this MA equips you to master your novel.

Course highlights

  • Our teaching team are all experienced creative writing lecturers as well as being novelists, including novelist and TV director/producer Dr Adam Lively; Dr Lorna Gibb, biographer and novelist, and Dr Josie Barnard, BBC radio journalist and novelist.
  • You’ll be learning with state-of-the-art distance learning tools and 24-hour web support through our innovative online platform
  • Creative writing at Middlesex has strong links with the publishing industry, including hosting the annual North London Literary Festival, which recently enjoyed a keynote speech from poet laureate Carol-Anne Duffy and novelist David Nicholls.
  • As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module

What will you study on the MA Novel Writing?

This course is divided into five modules taken over three terms (if studied full time) which take you through the full process of writing a novel. While exploring in depth such key techniques of fiction as plotting, narrative voice, characterisation and background research, each module is also designed to be flexible and to allow you to bring your own writing interests and projects to the assignments, extending the boundaries of your current practice through self-reflection, research, analysis, and creative exploration.

  • Modules

    • Writing as a Novelist - 30 Credits​ - Compulsory

      This module explores key writing techniques such as narrative, setting and characterisation, with reference to literary examples and the different methods used by writers in the creative process. This is an opportunity for you to explore the scenes and characters of your planned novel or develop a variety of ideas and approaches if you have not decided on the content of your story.

    • Reading as a Novelist - 30 Credits​​ - Compulsory

      Building on the 'Reading as a Writer' concept (most famously explored in Francine Prose's book), this module explores how published writers handle the technical and ethical problems which are likely to present themselves in your writing. Through a combination of weekly 'practical criticism' exercises and an online 'book group' you will develop the analytical skills to improve your own writing and the problem-solving techniques to overcome any obstacles in your approach.

    • Research for Fiction - 30 Credits​​ - Compulsory​

      This module explores the methods fiction-writers employ to research elements of their stories, as well as investigating the reasons why research is necessary – to provide authenticity, to avoid error, to create verisimilitude, and even to get inspiration. You will also learn about researching the possible markets, audiences and publishing outlets for your creative work.

    • Developing the Novel - 30 Credits​​ - Compulsory​

      This module moves on from the 'portfolio' focus of earlier modules to deal with the challenges of working on a specific novel. Through a series of writing exercises you will begin to evolve characters, explore themes and refine settings for your planned novel. This is an opportunity for you to begin the sustained prose narrative that is expected in the following dissertation.

    • Dissertation - 60 Credits​​ - Compulsory​

      Your final dissertation is an opportunity for you to take all the knowledge and skills you have acquired in the preceding modules and apply them to 20,000 words of an original novel with a synopsis for sending to an agent or publisher and an accompanying critical commentary.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Module and programme information is indicative and may be subject to change.

How is the MA Novel Writing taught?

This course is an online distance learning programme, so all teaching and learning is done online. You will have an online tutor for support and guidance throughout the development of your novel, and will also develop a virtual writers' group to share writing in progress.

You will meet, work and study with your fellow course participants and tutors in a virtual space which provides you with the flexibility to learn anywhere, anytime you have an internet connection and on a variety of devices. Our Virtual Learning Environment encourages you to share your writing, interact, question, and participate with others on your course, ensuring you never feel as if you are studying in isolation.

You will learn through

  • Carefully structured modules that take students through key aspects of novel-writing.
  • Tailored writing exercises, with accompanying feedback from tutors and fellow students
  • Guided reading and interactive discussion and analysis.
  • One-to-one online tutorials on individual projects.
  • Extensive online support materials – e-books, videos.

Assessment

Assessment is on the basis of creative work, including a 15,000-word final submission, along with reflection on the writing process in the form of discussion posts, on-line learning journals and critical commentaries.

  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International

Dr Adam Lively
Programme Leader

Adam has published four novels and two non-fiction books, has worked as a TV Producer/Director, and is a regular fiction reviewer for the Sunday Times.

Dr Lorna Gibb

Lorna’s debut novel, A Ghost’s Tale, was published by Granta in 2015, and she is also the author of the biographies Lady Hester and West’s World.

  • MA Novel Writing Lynn Bradshaw

    Lynn Bradshaw

    Current student

    I began from the premise that I wanted to be able to do two things after the course: write a a reasonably "good" novel and move into teaching creative writing. I am happy to say that I have already embarked on both.

    The programme has given me the tools, confidence and contacts to start to make a career out of writing.

    Throughout the course, I stepped outside my comfort zone and found a writing voice I did not know I had. The support of my peers and tutors made that possible.

    The best things have been: contact with other supportive trainee novel writers via the forums and working with professional writers to polish my writing.

    I cannot emphasis enough how much I have gained from the tutors. Their insights, questions, challenges, enthusiasm and empathy have made the course a really great experience.

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